GYMPIE State High school's U15s put up a strong fight against Shalom College on Tuesday afternoon in their bid to take the crown as Wide Bay Champions, but went down to the Bundaberg school team 22-10.
Coach Christopher Francis said things looked good for Gympie almost up until half-time.
"All boys put in 100% and we had Shalom worried leading 4-0 towards the end of the first half," Francis said.
He said the first try of the game was thanks to a well-worked set of six with good ball movement that allowed Billy Bayldon to push over in the centres for a try out wide.
Shalom scored twice late in the first half to lead 12-4 and then scored just after the break to take an 18-4 lead.
The team rallied, led by Joe Curran, as they fought back into the game but just could not get over the tryline.
"Desperate defence from Shalom kept us out," Francis said.
With 10 minutes remaining, Billy Bayldon stripped the ball one-on-one and ran 85m to score a sensational try which put the team back in the game.
After a conversion from Mitch Davis, Gympie High trailed 18-10.
Francis said Shalom were just too strong to hold off and scored late to record a 22-10 win.
"We were expecting a tough game, as they beat us easily last year but, with the addition of new players, the team is really strong now," he said.
"I've been their coach for two years now and they have really come together as a team."
Francis said the boys had a positive but realistic outlook on their game against Shalom. "We were hopeful of a win but realistic in thinking that it would be a very tough game," he said.
"We were happy with our performance."
Francis said the team was set back by injuries from games on the weekend.
"We didn't have our strongest team," he said.
However, Francis said the team pulled up quite well.
"Although two or three might have some short-term injuries, he said.
The team would continue in the southern broncos challenge next term. Francis said they should easily qualify for the semi-finals.